A seven per cent increase in travellers so far this year is an indication that Albertans are staying closer to home, an official with Red Deer Tourism said on Thursday.
Tourism executive director Darren Kuz said 46,485 visitors had dropped by the visitor information centre as of Monday.
This is an increase of almost 3,000 from last year, Kuz said.
“We are very pleased to see this increase,” Kuz said.
“With the economic slowdown, we were unsure exactly how that would affect the number of travellers that we would see in 2009.”
The economic slowdown indicates Albertans have taken the opportunity to stay closer to home, which directly benefits Red Deer and area attractions and events.
Marketing campaigns through Tourism Red Deer and their partners also make a difference in showing Albertans and Western Canadians what a great location Red Deer is, Kuz said.
“If our numbers remain strong for the last four months of this year, we will smash our 2008 record, which was 74,637,” Kuz added.
He said the outlook for tourism in Red Deer and Central Alberta remains positive.
“With our geographical location, amenities, attractions and events, our city and region will continue to benefit from this province’s fourth largest industry, which is tourism,” Kuz said.
He said figures haven’t been compiled yet for the origin of the visitors, although historically 80 per cent are Canadian and 80 per cent of those are Albertans.
Roughly 15 to 20 per cent are international with 11 per cent being Americans.
“It’s been pretty constant for those numbers the past few years and I don’t think it will change much this year,” he added.
He said the origin of the visitors won’t be tallied until the final figures are known early in the new year.